Volunteer Stories

Helping One Another

While doing my volunteer work at the hospice residence, I recently spent the better part of my shift visiting with a very discontented patient, whose health seemed to be getting worse day by day. This particular evening was a very lonely one for him – no visitors – and when he asked me to stay and talk, I naturally complied. Our conversation started about his family and as he talked, he began to act worried and distressed. I encouraged him to talk it out and very rapidly the conversation progressed into an intimate sort of emotional confession regarding his grown son. He had disowned this son over thirty-five years ago, and explained to me the circumstances leading up to their conflict. He knew he was going to die soon, and he wanted to see his son one last time, tell him how sorry he was and how much he loved him. He told me, several times, that it was his dying wish to do this. At first, I felt a reluctance to get involved in the “Family Dance”, but I was very emotionally moved by...

So Why Am I Here?

Recently, when another volunteer discovered that I live a 30 - minute drive away from the Langley Hospice store, she commented to me that “there must be something closer to your home that you could volunteer at instead of the Hospice”. So, why am I here? Three years ago, my sister-in-law’s Mom, Isabel, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. After several weeks of home care in my brother and sister-in-law’s home, Isabel was moved to the hospice care facility in Chilliwack. When I went to visit her, I was so impressed, the facility was beautiful! It looked like Barb and Gerri had put their own personal decorating touch on each room. The great room with its kitchen/dining and sitting area was amazing! How could a person feel so comfortable in a place where so many had come to spend their last days on earth. The care givers were unbelievable. I don’t know how they do it, day after day. Patient after patient. And, now, when I hear Pat (from our linen area) comment on a happening from her...

Volunteering Magic

I have had the opportunity to volunteer as a cabin counselor for teen girls for two years now. I have learned so many things, and seen such strength and wisdom come from such young minds. Camp brings so much joy through activities such as: honoring a loved one who is gone through art, discussion, and games; camp-wide water balloon fights; singing songs beneath the stars; worst-dressed competitions; and hiking.  There are many more moments that will be in the memory of these children and teens (and the volunteers) for a long time to come. It amazes me to see children and teens who have endured a great loss be able to manage to come together and allow emotions to flow, while still having fun.  These youth understand each other, as one never has to tell someone when to respect others. Because it is all understood without a word being said. Thank you for letting me be a part of Camp Chrysalis, where magic seems to happen. April Holland Camp Chrysalis Volunteer

You Volunteer at Hospice?!

You volunteer at Hospice?!! Isn't that depressing??? These are statements that I hear often. To me volunteering at Hospice is an honour. Do I find it depressing? Absolutely not!! It is an honour to be part of one's journey. Life has a beginning, middle, and an ending. There are no exceptions. As a volunteer I become part of the final journey. It is not my place to grieve, for their death is not my personal loss. It is my place to provide comfort, a listening ear and a gentle touch. It is my place to be available for family members - to provide a hug when requested and a hand to reach out and hold while they express their sorrow and loss. To the dying I am available with a smile and undivided attention. I listen to stories of lives lived, the challenges fought and won or lost, the joys of family and accomplishments and the sorrow of mistakes and missed opportunities. The dying share thoughts that they need to speak of, to release burdens they have carried and cannot divulge to their...

Why We Volunteer

Three weeks ago a gentlemen came in to Second Story Treasures with donations from his Mom who passed at our Hospice. I started talking to him about his journey with mom. As we talked tears were running and after we finished I said, “I think you need a hug”, and he replied, “Oh, yes, please”. So today on my shift he reappeared with the end of his mom’s belongings and said “Do you remember me, as you were the one who gave me a hug?” I thanked him for the donations and as he was leaving he turned to me and said “Do you think I can have another hug?” and I replied, “Sure you can.” Volunteering at Second Story is a bit different than other thrift stores as most people donating to us have been touched by a loved one, cared for at our Hospice residence. Thanking you for giving me the opportunity to give back. Pat Anderson Thrift Store/Client Volunteer

Volunteering at the Langley Hospice Society

Recently, I worked for several years in retail; I was good at it, but I found that the work had little meaning for me. I wanted my efforts to be purposeful. Before I had my kids, I worked as an administrative assistant for a non-profit organization. There I felt needed, an equal part of a team working to help others. I wanted to do so again. I went back to school to update my skills and, needing current office experience, I started looking for volunteer opportunities. I found just what I needed; the Langley Hospice Society, a non-profit organization that uses volunteers in its office. I was immediately impressed by the inclusiveness shown on the volunteer application form as it made clear that any applicant from any background would be considered. My kind of place! So here I am, again a part of a team, warmly welcomed by people who share my values, working together to help those who need us. Heather Frenette Supportive Programs Centre Office Volunteer

Musical Interludes at the Hospice Residence

My name is Paul Helliwell-Hargreaves and I am 64 years old. I have been volunteering for Langley Hospice Society at Langley Hospice Residence as a musician for a good part of a year. I play an acoustic guitar and sing songs like ballads, folk, western, rock, old time, and gospel. If you are familiar with the Hospice Residence, I play by the memorial table in front of the nurses’ station. The acoustics are so good the sound carries to the end of the corridor. If anyone wants me to play in their room, then I will. I’ve had no formal training dealing with death in the Hospice but for 12 years I did volunteer at Delta View SCU playing for residents with dementia. My uncle/godfather, a resident, eventually died there. I was asked to play for an elderly gentleman and his family, and was asked if I knew “The Red River Valley “(a favourite western song of the gentleman’s). Quite often when I’m singing I don’t really listen to the words, but this time the importance of the words impacted us...

Volunteer Viewpoint

When I tell people I am a volunteer at the Langley Hospice Society they always ask: “what do you do there?” When I introduce myself to a new resident and/or their families they always want to know what the volunteers do. There is the explanation that volunteers will help in any way they can – make coffee and tea, do dishes, sit with people, play cards, talk, listen, hold a hand, and give tours or whatever needs to be done. What I would really like to tell people is what volunteers do is give thanks and be grateful. We are thankful that residents and/or family members will let us into their lives. We are grateful that they will turn to us when they need someone to talk to. We are thankful that they allow us to be with them at this crucial time in their lives. We are grateful they make us feel needed and welcome. We are grateful when they are thinking about the end of life and they share their wisdom with us about what is really important in life. We are thankful when we are there for...

A Volunteer’s Perspective on Second Story Treasures – “The Store”

Volunteering at Second Story Treasures has made a tremendous difference in my life. I feel a real connection to the community and I've gained immeasurably from the support I've received from my fellow volunteers. We are a team - and it feels like "family". Our thrift store relies on members of the community to bring us "good stuff" that they no longer use. Our team sorts-tests-steams-packages-polishes and hangs the donations for sale in our store. Through this effort we are able to provide quality items at low cost to those who are on limited budgets. As well, we often have unique items that are either collectibles or conversation pieces. We have been known to harbour unique "treasures". The proceeds of our efforts fund Langley Hospice. If you have thought about volunteering in the community, check us out. Our operation is very organized and therefore, very productive. We complete every shift with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction - well, almost every one!!! Being part of...

Why I Volunteer With Langley Hospice’s Child and Youth Program

I began helping out at Langley Hospice three years ago to gain some volunteering experience before I applied for university. I was fairly young at the time, about age 16. I am now in university, well into my degree, but I continue to volunteer for a variety of reasons. Working with the kids who are experiencing grief over the loss of a loved one has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Children are extremely dependent on their caregivers for survival, so when one or both of those caregivers dies the children are put in a difficult state. Children are supposed to laugh, play, and not have many stressors in their lives. They shouldn’t have to worry about not having a mom to brush their hair before school or future worries like not having a dad to walk them down to isle when they get married.   All of these worries, emotions, and stressors can be extremely taxing on an adult, let alone a young child or early teen. Adults need support with their struggles and emotions...

SECOND STORY TREASURES THRIFT STORE

Store hours:

Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Donations of gently used clothing and household items may be dropped off:

Monday, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Tuesday - Friday, 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Saturday, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm

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